April 3, 2019
By Yusufu S. Bangura
Sierra Leone Institution of Geoscientists (SLIG) last Friday taught geologists about diamond exploration in West Africa, using Sierra Leone as a case study.
The training took place at the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources’ conference room, Youyi Building in Freetown.
Speaking during the presentation, Dr. Solomon Tucker, former Secretary General of SLIG, said the objective of the meeting was to interact with new students, who have just been admitted into the department of geoscientist and educate them about diamond exploration in Sierra Leone.
He said they have platforms for both junior and senior geoscientist students.
He said their hope was to build and nurture a professional community’s interest in all sectors that geoscientists are involved, as well as develop and leverage a range of platforms.
He said their aim was to seek the interests of geoscientists in the country, and to promote the status and practices of geoscience and to support students to make an increasing contribution to the management of the nation’s natural resources.
He noted that the institution was set up at a time when a very few people recognised the need for geoscientists to have a representation in the professional front of the country, adding that what they missed out at that time was the value of association and the benefit of people where they have professional exchanges on their current basis.
He said they also missed out a representation that would look into the future interest of Sierra Leoneans.
He continued that they would ensure that the practice of geoscientists is done in a way that aligns with industries’ standards right around the world.
He added that they have the desire to interact with other people not only with members of the geoscientist community, but to go out to industries and see how they operate and how their needs can be identified and represented by geoscientists.
Chief Executive Officer of Sierra Diamonds, Karl Smithson, said Sierra Leone has been known as a wide diamond production region in West Africa since 1930, and that in 2004, geologists used strong backgrounds of diamonds in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
He said diamond can be found and explored in many areas not just in petroleum kimberlite area, but also in non-creosotic areas, adding that the good thing about West African countries is the high value of large stones that can be found there.
He noted that when they went to DR. Congo for diamond exploration they first cut down trees, sample gravels for them to know whether there was diamond.
He said Sierra Leone has two main areas where his company operates- Jurassic aged kimberlite clusters at Koidu and Tongo.
He noted that Sierra diamonds has been active in Sierra Leone since 2004, and that in 2018 they spent USD 9million on diamond exploration in Tongo.
He said Tongo diamonds are white colorless with a very good shape.
He mentioned that the Newfield Resources Corporation has been working safely and successfully in West Africa for over 12years now, aiming to drive positive effort for the people and create job opportunities for Sierra Leoneans.
“We will build Sierra Leone’s second diamond mine. We produce 7.4 million USD for year and we have strong relationship with national and international companies across the world,” he said.
A new graduate from the Department of Geoscientist, Fourah Bay College, Fatimat Davies, said the presentation was an eye opener because they learnt more about diamond exploration in West Africa with Sierra Leone as a case study.
Davies encouraged her colleague students to take their work seriously and encouraged them to have passion for geoscientist.
She thanked the institution for a ‘wonderful’ presentation and promised that she would like to work with diamond industries and asked students to improve on the quality of the diamond exploration in West Africa.